Fireworks safety urged in July 4th weekend

Published 4:11 am Saturday, July 1, 2017

The sale, possession and use of fireworks are prohibited within the city limits of Bogalusa, and fireworks are not permitted within the town limits of Franklinton. But they’re legal everywhere else in Washington Parish.

So now is the time to brush up on firework safety.

“Unfortunately, every year hundreds of people end up in the emergency room for firework-related injuries,” said Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who encouraged everyone to stay safe.

Stephen Genco, president of Magic City Fireworks Inc., who has fireworks stands in Washington Parish, named a couple of his major safety concerns.

“Never stand over fireworks to light them,” Genco said. “Always stand to the side.

“And never hold fireworks in your hands to light them. Always set them on the ground to light.

“Of course I could go on, but I think those two are the most important.”

He added that a firework user should know what he or she has and how it’s supposed to work, they should be responsible and lead by example. In addition, when children are around, adult supervision is a must.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety promotes the safe and responsible use of consumer fireworks. Included in its advice is the warning that “alcohol and fireworks don’t mix.” It also alludes to the fact that animals, such as dogs, can become spooked and bolt when they hear the sporadic, sudden, and repeated explosions of fireworks.

The council offers a list of its recommended safety tips. They are:

  • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  • Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trashcan away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
  • Don’t bring your pets to a fireworks display, even a small one.
  • If fireworks are being used near your home, put your pet in a safe, interior room to avoid exposure to the sound.
  • Make sure your pet has an identification tag, in case it runs off during a fireworks display.
  • Never shoot fireworks of any kind (consumer fireworks, sparklers, fountains, etc.) near pets.

Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal echoed many of the above tips, and added the warning to never aim bottle rockets or roman candles in the direction of a person or a building.

“I recommend the website as an excellent source for fireworks safety information, and I caution all persons to use fireworks in a responsible manner,” Seal said. “Although the use of fireworks is a fun activity, it can be a dangerous activity also. Please be responsible when you discharge fireworks, and always have a responsible and sober adult present when children use fireworks. I wish everyone a safe Fourth of July celebration, and I hope to see you at the parade.”